Sunday, November 05, 2006

Kissimme Prairie, Pt. Two

The Kissimmee Prairie is just incredibly gorgeous. Looking in any direction once you are inside the park even just a little ways and the vistas can be rather breathtaking. Stand out in the grasses for any length of time in the Fall through the Winter and you could find yourself smack in the middle of a flock of Tree Swallows numbering into the thousands swooping just feet away from you on all sides.

Or you can take in the interesting sights found all over this amazing location. One of my favorite views from the sparrow round-up was this old dead tree resting in the scrub and tall grasses.

Kiss. Prairie

There is so much life hiding in this vast expance of land that you can easily pass most of it by unless you stop, get out and explore the area around you. Sometimes that life can stay beneath the vegetation without ever being seen, such as the sparrows we scare up, or it can just crawl right out at you as the day warms up like the sudden appearance we had of dozens of millipedes making their way across the road.

This one was about 4 inches long.


Besides the Sparrows, we often have to remove several beetles from the mist nets. The most beautiful are the Phanaeus vindex which are a type of dung beetle. They are also called the "Rainbow Scarab Beetle" The males have the long single horn on their heads. Both male and females are similar in color.


Birds can be found all over the place out on the prairie. Besides the smaller birds hiding in the plants, probably from the raptors, I am always surprised when a flock of wild turkey come streaming out of the palmettos. The morning of the round-up I had an flock of 8 birds file in front of me as I drove near the campground.


More secretive are the Sedge Wrens. Every now and then, one will pop up far enough away when they feel safe.

Sedge Wren

My favorite find of this day, however, was a small lily I had been hunting for a couple years. I expected it in a more moist environment or at least around some pine woods but as we dragged the ropes out for the first run at the sparrows one of the volunteers almost stepped on one.

We found many more Pine Lilies hiding around as we wandered around though the scrub. I hear we missed the riches blooms a couple weeks before. Date noted.

Pine Lily

There is so much more of this area I have yet to explore. Should get another good look at another part of the park at the next round-up in January.

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